Anyway. I just picked up some new algae eaters (otos) for the 30 gallon tank that's upstairs with the goldfish in it. I finally gave in and started heating the tank so the plants would stop dying and that seems to be doing the trick nicely. They're growing like crazy with the fertilizer, but the brown algae was getting ugly. So the otos should take care of that. They're tiny, so they don't add much to the insane bioload of the goldfish, but they're not so tiney that the goldfish will eat them.
The 10 gallon downstairs doesn't seem to have any algae problems at all, which I find odd. But it's now fully stocked with plants, a small school of red phantom tetras and an opaline gourami. The gourami will outgrow this tank, but I intend to transplant these guys to a 20+ gallon tank when we move. Some day in the future.
Then there's the 5 gallon tank upstairs with the bastard betta in it. I think that'll be his name. We'll just start calling him Bastard for short. But he's in the tiny tank because he killed all but 2 of my neon tetras. Thus, Bastard. This tank doesn't have a light but is pretty well planted so I let it have sunlight during the day. It was growing green algae something fierce because of all the sunlight, so I picked up an oto for it too. So far, Bastard doesn't seem to care. I think it must have something to do with the coloration. The oto is all browns and blacks, so maybe he doesn't attract Bastard like the shiny neons did. At least, I'm hoping that's the case. I'd really like to move him into the 10 gallon and build a little community for him with corydoras catfish or loaches after we move and just use the 5 gallon for a hospital tank.
I think that my next obsessive piece will be getting pruning down (the plants are growing! like crazy!) and also learning more about lighting/CO2. The lighting will probably have to be something I build myself, since aquarium manufacturers don't seem to understand that plants need actual light to live. Oh so many fun things to do!